El Nino's assault has been savage in some parts of Utah but turned gentle in a five-county area.
That conclusion is based on data released early this month by Manti-based LaMar Jorgensen, a BLM technician, covering a just-completed snow survey of 11 courses.The BLM survey crew was carried out by helicopter to high mountain sites and came back with the following statistics on water content in the snow banks. The details follow:
- Emery County - The water content in the snow cover at the Seeley Creek Ranger Station is 12 inches in depth, 101 percent of the longtime average.
- Juab County - The snow drifts are 53 inches deep at Reece's Flat and contain 12.4 inches of water, or 114 percent of normal.
- Carbon County - The snow is 71 inches deep at the Huntington Horse snow course on a watershed that feeds into the Price River, 116 percent.
- Sanpete County - Measurements were taken on three critical watersheds. There are 18.2 inches of water in the snow at the Mammoth Ranger Stations east of Fairview, 109 percent. The snow is 68 inches deep, contains 18 inches of water and is 94 percent of normal at the Meadows course near the summit of Ephriam Canyon. At the headquarters course, lower in that watershed, the snow is 56 inches deep and contains 14.2 inches of water, 103 percent of average.
The snow is 77 inches deep and contains 21.6 inches of water, 110 percent, at the Mt. Baldy Ranger Station course near the top of Twelve Mile Canyon east of Mayfield. At the Beaver Dams, near the bottom of the watershed , there are 9.2 inches of water in the snow cover, 97 percent.
- Sevier County - Measurements were made at three courses in the vast Salina Canyon drainage. At Farnsworth Lake, there are 17 inches of water in the snow cover, 109 percent of normal; 8.2 inches at the Gooseberry Ranger Station, 91 percent; and 17.5 inches at Pickle Keg Springs, 129 percent.
Jorgenson pointed out that this El Nino year had delivered less water than did 1997 at 10 of the 11 survey stations in the central Utah area.
"So far, it's been a laid-back year," he said. But he added a word of warning in pointing out that the wettest months in the area are March, April and May.